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Greens back dental health report

Calls for a universal dental health plan gain momentum with the release of the National Dental Health Review yesterday.

The Australian Greens are hopeful a new report will convince the government to commit to a universal dental health plan in the May budget.

But the minor party also has expressed disappointment at the timing the National Dental Health Review, released yesterday.

The review recommends federal, state and territory governments invest more than $10 billion extra, over four years, to improve oral health.

"The Greens are thrilled with the recommendations outlined in that report," the party's health spokesman Richard Di Natale told reporters in Canberra.

But he noted the report was released late on Monday afternoon, when media coverage was focused on Labor's leadership spill and the resignation of Assistant Treasurer Mark Arbib.

"This report is too important to be lost, to be buried," the senator said, adding it backed the party's vision for Denticare.

"At the end of four years we could have 12 million Australians being able to access Medicare-funded dentistry."

That was something that a wealthy country such as Australia could afford.

Senator Di Natale called on Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to adopt the review's recommendations, saying they were more important than a small budget surplus or deficit.

"Almost half the community defer going to the dentist because they can't afford it," he said.


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